I recently saw a click-bait piece on the Internet that claimed animals do not share the two common human emotions of guilt and shame. I agree with that because animals are not aware of their own existence, as are humans (see posting “The Origin of Consciousness,” February 11 and 15, 2011). But the appearance comes close, as an old friend once described.
She lived alone in a house in rural North Carolina. When she drove off on summer mornings, her dog was often sunning himself on the porch swing and, while she was gone, would drag the cushions out into the yard. When she returned the dog would cower, seemingly in guilt, before she even got out of the car. The dog knew something was very wrong. The cushions should not be lying out on the grass, and he would be scolded, but he did not know how to fix the situation, or, probably, that he was even the cause. (Cushions on the grass = I get scolded. Happens every time. Who knows why?)